3 tied for lead at Saint-Omer Open
Adam Gee of England shot a 4-under 67 to share the lead with compatriot Simon Wakefield and Sihwan Kim of South Korea in the opening round of the Saint-Omer Open on Thursday.
Darren Fichardt of South Africa carded a 68 to be in fourth place, tied with Raymond Russell of Scotland and Raul Quiros of Spain.
Americans Scott Pinckney and Berry Henson shared seventh place with five other golfers at 2 under.
Gee climbed atop the leaderboard by holing seven birdies to make up for three bogeys. He missed the cut last week at the Nordea Masters in Sweden.
''It's a good start,'' Gee said. ''I had some good fortune today - I hit the flag on the 17th and it went in, and on the 18th I hit a good shot from a bad lie and it ran up nicely to the hole.''
The Englishman finished in joint 15th place at the Saint-Omer Open three years ago. His best result on the European Tour was a fourth place at the Russian Open in 2007.
Kim, who is playing his first season in Europe, also enjoyed a bit of luck.
''I missed in the right places,'' Kim said. ''I wouldn't say I was hitting the ball terribly, but I certainly wasn't striping it. I got some lucky bounces here and there.''
Kim finished 11th at the Madeira Islands Open last month in Portugal.
In his first appearance at this event, Pinckney managed to adjust to the tricky course.
''It makes you think and I like courses like that,'' Pinckney said. ''It can be very tricky and I can see why some people get mad and frustrated around these greens.''
Pinckney played golf with Rory McIlroy when they were kids. McIlroy even spent three months staying at the Pinckney family home in Utah and playing golf, and the two have remained in contact ever since.
Defending champion Matthew Zions of Australia was in joint 45th place at 2 over.